Darlene, earthy and unmarried, returns to the cane fields of Bahia with her young son. There, over time, she balances the pride, desire, jealousy, and tolerance of three men. Osias, an older man, proud of a house he's built, proposes marriage; she accepts. He retires to his hammock, she works hard, and in a few years births a second son, much darker than Osias. Then, he takes in his cousin Zezinho, almost as old as he, a good cook, so Osias is happy. Darlene smiles at Zezinho. Another son arrives, light-skinned like Zezinho. Next, Darlene meets Ciro, young and handsome, and invites him to dinner. Osias insists Ciro stay. When another son arrives, what will the proud Osias do?Written by
Wonderful film. There really is much to love about this film, but the it's strength begins with the realistic, multidimensional performances by Regina Case, Lima Duarte and Stenio Garcia. For every spoken word, their body language and expressions convey countless unspokes desires, emotions, and conflicts. The script is well grounded with very little in the way of broad farcical humor or weepy melodrama. By pushing realism in the dialogue, direction and performances, the characters are rendered with more complexity. More humanity. They aren't reduced to being the romanticized 'noble poor' ciphers present in many films about poor people. Here, there are no saints or devils, only achingly real people doing their best to strike an agreeable accord with life. Even the cinematography serves this goal. This film is packed with beautiful imagery, but at the same time, it never devolves into being a travelogue. Instead the arrid terrain, populated with knarled cashew trees and swept with dust provides an understanding of how the characters find themselves amidst such an arrangement. Some have said this film is a disservice to women, because Darlene has to use sex to gain what she wants and needs. This I think is a pathetic attempt to further an agenda without even really considering the merit of the film itself. Darlene is a woman without many options. In order to fashion a semblance of a happy life, she uses guile, intelligence, charm and strategy to manipulate her fate. Sex just happens to be a tool at her disposal, and in Ciro, she finds a lover who even provides for her sexual needs. She sounds like a strong, self-realized woman to me. Were her character born middle class, I have no doubt she'd go far. Understanding this bit of social commentary only adds to my respect for this film because like other elements present, it's never heavy handed. Overall, I give 'Me You Them' 9 of 10. Of the films I saw in 2001, it ranks only after 'the Circle' as my favorite. Touching, funny, sublimely well balanced and intelligent, I'm hoping Andrucha Waddington makes more films of this caliber..............
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